Racism

May 23, 2008
By
A white Jetta races down the street where Alonso and I are walking. Out of nowhere some white guy screams “F***ing B***er!” in a voice full of hate. Without thinking I flip him off. The car suddenly pulls a U turn and races back towards us. In mere seconds the car reaches us; I freeze and stare at the car, my life flashing right in front of me. The car comes to a screeching halt, inches in front of me. I am frightened and just stand there, while Alonso confronts the driver and screams at him to, “Get the f*** out of the car!” The driver peels off, leaving Alonso and I on the street corner, angry and surprised someone would do that.

In the novel Frederick Douglass, Douglass narrates his life as a slave. He brings out the truth of the South, when African Americans were just property. Douglass shows us how slaves were tortured and mentally traumatized, just pieces of property to the land owners. Douglass describes the dehumanizing effects of slavery, “ The girls seldom passed her without her saying, ‘More faster, you black gip!’”(35). But Douglass lives with the pain, continues to work and think about the future. He dreams about leaving the plantation and heading for the north, and he finally does escape. Abolitionists encouraged Douglass to write of his experiences and his book was used to persuade the American public to vote against slavery.

Over one hundred and fifty years after Douglass wrote his memoir, director Paul Haggis explores racism, stereotypes and bigotry in the United States today through his film Crash. The movie follows the lives of different groups of people, and shows the racism that surfaces, especially when someone is angered. Haggis exposes the reality of what people go through everyday. Daniel, a young Mexican man, just beginning to raise a family, is judged for the way he looks. A rich white woman thinks he will steal the keys to her front door locks that Daniel has just fixed and give them away to his “Homies.” Instead of keeping the keys, Daniel places them on the counter right in front of the lady. As people say, “you can never judge a book by its cover,” not everyone can be judged by their exterior features. For example, Daniel is nice guy, just one of those people that minds his own business and just lives his life without bothering anybody. Why do people discriminate against others just because those “others” look different?

I have always wondered why people discriminate against others. It has seemed it’s natural to victimize others because they are “different.” A trait of racism is that only one group’s thoughts or ideas are right, while others’ opinions are wrong. This is just the way of life. Most of the people that judge others are raised in families that separate themselves from the “abnormal people.” On an individual level, I think many people learn discrimination when they are children. They see the way adults around them respond to those who are of a different race or religion. It is very difficult for a child to unlearn what he experienced in his childhood. Racism and prejudice are never going to go away, there will always be those people who hate others because of their differences. Alonso and I were targeted just for being Mexican. We had been minding our own business, not doing anything wrong when the white guy screamed the racial slur. While Douglass experienced the brutal effects of ante bellum racism, Haggis explores how racism is still all around us today.





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Pa S. said...
May 2, 2009 at 6:20 am
i know what you mean man. i'm affrican, and everybody is like "have you ever fought a lion or something" it ticks me off! Sometimes, when i walk into class, i hear people goin'" eellluuulliaaa" i just choose to ignore them. even my teacher smirked if not, i would have killed myself or beaten thousands of people. dude, we should become friends
and check out my best poems:
Too Bad
THE END
Ugly Duckling
Discrimination
The A, B, C's of Love
W... (more »)
 
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